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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Gun rights for Iraqis

Belmont club has an excellent post on the "successive cities" strategy being used by the Baathists and Islamo-fascists in Iraq, and what a challenge it presents to the U.S. military. By making us do in successive cities what we did in Fallujah, they have a chance to turn Iraqis against us. But of course, Iraqis also know to blame the destruction on the Islamo-fascists, and we can use that.

One way to counter the "successive cities" strategy is to promote gun rights. The bad guys are all already armed. We need to make sure that those Iraqis who want liberty and democracy are able to keep their cities free of the vermin by having the means to kill them. The question is how to manage it. As we have learned here in America, what is needed is a two pronged strategy: arming the good guys and disarming the bad guys. Gun rights do need to be regulated if the advantage of the law abiding over the criminal is to be maximized.

One possible scheme of regulation would be to get the Iraqis to form militias where membership is conditional on the willingness of other militia members to vouch for each other's loyalty to liberty and democracy for Iraq. Iraq is a traditional society, where everything is personal connections and reputation, so the infrastructure is in place for this kind of verification process to work for most of the country. The formal rule might be that anyone who can get five other people to vouch for his loyalty gets a permit to carry firearms, openly or concealed.

These reputational links could then be used to police the system. If anyone with a gun permit is caught acting as an insurgent, all who vouched for him are disarmed. At the same time, sanctions could also be applied to higher level militia organizations. If there is any pattern of disloyalty in the ranks, a militia might be disarmed, or be barred from accepting new members until they get their loyalty rating up, likely leading to a dynamic where the most loyal militias would grow and would gain in prestige.

To take advantage of the militias, they would have to be empowered to kill any anti-regime fighters they discover. Any attempt to intimidate loyal militias by attacking them could then be met by the equivalent response. Militia members would hunt down and kill those who are threatening militia members and other innocent Iraqis. Car bomb factories are not hidden from ordinary Iraqis. Iraqis are just not empowered to take them out. That is the missing step. We need to LET Iraqis fight for their liberty.

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